Category: Singaporean – Hawker Centre
My favourite go-to food centre in Singapore, Old Airport Road Food Centre has some of the best of Singapore’s most popular dishes and is highly revered among Singaporeans. While these are familiar dishes to the locals, I figured it would be helpful to write a little for friends from overseas coming to visit, and since I was at Old Airport Road Food Centre for lunch on Sunday, that’s exactly what I did.
19 Old Airport Road, Singapore 390019
Located in the vicinity of Mountbatten and Geylang, Old Airport Road Food Centre is a two-storey stocky-looking building situated in a relatively open space, painted in bold colours of yellow, blue, red and green (I know…), with a carpark on one side and a few residential buildings by it’s front. Any taxi driver would be able to take you, and if you’re coming by the MRT (i.e. train), the closest station would be Mountbatten.
It’s the foodie’s heaven, with reasonable prices ranging from $3 for pie tee to $5 and up for noodle-dishes. When you come, I can almost guarantee you’ll be hypnotised by the delicious wafting smells and will want to try everything – in which case… maybe I should increase the damage to $$.
To go: Of course! (Is this a trick question?)
No reservations about it – if you want to have an authentic experience amongst locals and try some of the best of Singaporean cuisine, this place should be at the top of your list.
A MORE DETAILED REVIEW
This review will consist of a few sub-reviews.
Kangkong Jiu Eng Cai, $3, and Pie Tee, $3 (Feature picture, from left to right)
Kangkong Jiu Eng Cai is a dish made from kangkong (a kind of long skinny vegetable), and jiu (cuttlefish), which often features cucumber, pineapple cubes and beansprouts. This dish uses cured cuttlefish, which I didn’t like because of its translucent agar-like texture, but the sweet prawn paste sauce with chilli and peanuts was fantastic – light, tasty, and yet full of flavour. Our favourite stall for this dish faces the front of the food centre, and has a purple sign with red chinese words together with white words announcing “Homemade springroll, springroll skin”; if you look carefully on the right, it says “Fortune Food” in english.
Otak-otak, 80 or 90 cents each
Look at the crab flesh embedded inside! Otak-otak is traditionally a grilled “fish cake” made from fish meat, tapioca starch and spices, wrapped in banana leaves and speared with little toothpicks at the ends to keep them intact when grilled over the fire. Now, otak-otak has expanded to a wider variety of different fillings to include crab. The one from Lee Wee Brothers is very tasty and generous with the meat, and also is just nicely toasted, unlike some places which overdo it until it chars.
Char Kway Teow, $3-$5
Ah, Singaporeans absolutely love their fried kway teow. Also known in the local dialect as “char kway teow“, this dish is a stir-fry of flat rice noodles, with beansprouts, slices of chinese sausage, egg and cockles in a chilli and soy-sauce based sauce. Lao Fu Zhi has one of the best char kway teows around – it’s situated along the middle aisle and always has a queue. The noodles are well coated with a thin flavourful sweet-savory layer of sauce, and with eggs deliciously stir-fried into it. Watch for when the man himself is handling for the wok, because he does it best.
Another Singaporean favourite is Hokkien mee, also known as fried prawn noodles. While I didn’t have it this time, you should be sure to give it a try and the one at old airport road food centre is very good.
Other dishes to try
While you’re there, have the roast chicken wings with the local chilli sauce from Tong Kee Charcoal BBQ as well – freshly roasted until the skin is golden and crispy, while the meat remains tender and incredibly juicy (careful – the juices will flow out!). Also try some local desserts like Tau Suan (essentially a sweet soup made from split mung bean) and sesame paste (picture below, left to right).